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Men rescued from taxi sucked into 3.5ft flood water on way to drop off Christmas presents

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Dramatic images show the black car submerged in 3.5 feet of water between Billericay and Ingatestone, Essex, on Christmas Day morning. The driver was taking a father to visit his children with their Christmas gifts, which included a mini-motorbike, when the vehicle got into trouble.

Images show one man piling Christmas stockings and a reindeer-shaped sack onto the roof of the car in a bid to save the goodies as the second looks on.

Freelance photographer Stephen Huntley came across the half-submerged car while out taking pictures of flooding at about 8.30am.

The taxi driver was balancing on the edge of a barrier separating a ford and the River Wid at Buttsbury Wash, which often floods during heavy rain.

Mr Huntley, from Chelmsford, stayed with the two men, trying to reassure them and contacting the emergency services.

When the man inside the car tried to escape from the vehicle, Mr Huntley urged him to stay inside so he did not get swept away in the current.

He said: “The taxi driver was looking really glum. As his car filled with water, it sank down. It was flowing quite quickly there. I told the guy not to move. He was wet, but more concerned about his Christmas presents getting to his children.

“He was saying, ‘I can’t believe it. I can’t believe we’ve got stuck in the water’ and that he had to get his presents to his children.”

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Some parts of Essex saw almost an inch of rain in just 12 hours with Essex Weather Centre advising people to be aware and careful when travelling.

Mr Huntley, 59, said: “Hopefully, those kids got their presents. Well done to the fire service and other emergency services.

“They would have been having Christmas with their children no doubt. But they attended pretty quickly.”

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Firefighters rescued two people from a flooded road at Buttsbury Wash in Billericay this morning.

Crews were called at 8:39am to rescue two people who were trapped in their car in floodwater.

Specialist water rescue trained firefighters rescued two people from the vehicle by 9:15am.”

According to EssexLive, Buttsbury Ford is a flooding hotspot which has claimed a number of vehicles.

It is reportedly notorious for trapping drivers who try to drive through the water with a black Volkswagen submerged in deep water after heavy rain back in March.

In December 2017, two vehicles became trapped in the murky water as well, according to EssexLive.



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